John Bell, Senator (1796 - 1869) MP

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Nicknames: "The Great Apostate", ""The Great Apostate""
Birthplace: Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee
Death: Died in Dickson County, TN, USA
Occupation: Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senator and Secretary of War, Attorney
Managed by: Lydia Melton
Last Updated:
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About John Bell, Senator

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bell_(Tennessee_politician)

John Bell (also known as "The Great Apostate") (February 18, 1796 – September 10, 1869) was a U.S. politician, attorney, and plantation owner. A wealthy slaveholder from Tennessee, Bell served in the United States Congress in both the House of Representatives and Senate. He began his career as a Democrat, he eventually fell out with Andrew Jackson and became a Whig. In 1860, he was among the three presidential candidates defeated by Abraham Lincoln in a bitterly divided election that helped spark the American Civil War.


Early life and career


Bell was born in Mill Creek, a hamlet near Nashville, Tennessee. He was the son of local farmer Samuel Bell and Margaret (Edmiston) Bell. His father was a blacksmith and farmer. He graduated from Cumberland University in 1814 and studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1816 and established a prosperous practice in Franklin. Entering politics, he successfully ran for the Tennessee State Senate in 1817. After serving a single term, Bell declined to run for reelection and instead moved to Nashville. He was elected to the 20th Congress in 1826, defeating Felix Grundy, who had the support of presidential candidate Andrew Jackson.


He served Tennessee's 9th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1827 to 1841. At first a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson, Bell broke with the Jacksonian Democrats in the fight over the controversial Bank of the United States. (It was his abandonment of Jackson and the Democrats to join the Whigs that earned Bell the derisive nickname "The Great Apostate" from Jackson and other Democrats.) He served as Speaker of the House from 1834 to 1835, but was defeated for the post several other times by his rival and fellow Tennessean James K. Polk. Bell also served several terms as the chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs and served on the Committee on Judiciary.


Bell then served briefly as Secretary of War under William Henry Harrison and John Tyler in 1841, but then resigned along with the rest of the Cabinet in protest at Tyler's vetoes of Whig bills. He returned to Tennessee and invested in railroads and manufacturing interests, while politically opposing Polk, who won the presidency in 1844 but failed to carry Tennessee through Bell's efforts. In 1847, Bell returned to local politics, being elected to the State House of Representatives. His majority Whig Party selected him for the United States Senate, where he served until 1859. A reluctant supporter of the Compromise of 1850, Bell was only one of two Southern senators (the other being Sam Houston of Texas) to vote against the Kansas-Nebraska Act.


Bell married twice, first to Sally Dickinson and then to Jane Yeatman after Dickinson's death.


Presidential candidacy


After the collapse of the Whig Party in the 1850s, Bell was among the leaders of the small group (mostly border state and middle state Whigs) who attempted to preserve the Whig Party in another form, and became the Presidential candidate of the United States Constitutional Union Party. He was nominated in Richmond, Virginia.


Abraham Lincoln of the Republican Party won the United States Presidential election of 1860 in the face of a four-way split of the votes. Bell won 39 electoral votes (13%) and 592,906 popular votes (13% of the total; 39% of Southern popular votes). Lincoln was not on the ballot in most southern states. Bell carried Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, largely as a result of the division of the Democratic Party between John C. Breckenridge (representing the South) and Stephen A. Douglas (representing the North), but received less than 3% of the vote in Northern states. Bell ran strongly in Louisiana too, but the state voted for Breckinridge, who enjoyed the support of the influential U. S. Senator John Slidell. Another Louisiana figure, Pierre Soule, backed Douglas.


Later life


Initially opposed to secession, he travelled to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Lincoln. Bell was initially successful in helping hold Tennessee in the Union after states in the Deep South seceded. However, after the secessionist firing on Fort Sumter in South Carolina and Lincoln's call up of troops in response to this attack, Bell reluctantly accepted Tennessee's subsequent secession and retired from politics, his spirit broken and in ill health. He joined a group of investors in saltworks and ironworks, purchasing a shared interest in the Cumberland Furnace near Charlotte, Tennessee. However, most of his businesses were severely damaged or ruined during the Civil War. In 1869 Bell died at his home on the banks of the Cumberland River, near the Cumberland Furnace not far from Dover, Tennessee. He was buried in Nashville's Mt. Olivet Cemetery.


His son-in-law was Confederate Congressman Edwin Augustus Keeble.

-------------------- http://dickinson-tree.net/getperson.php?personID=I4547&tree=Dickinson -------------------- http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/chron/civilwarnotes/bell.html

John Bell, a Representative and a Senator from Tennessee, was born near Nashville, Tenn., on February 15, 1797. He graduated from the University of Nashville in 1814, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1816 and commenced practice in Franklin, Tenn. He was elected to the Tennessee senate in 1817, but after one term he declined to be a candidate for reelection and moved to Nashville.

Bell entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1827 and served there as a Democrat until 1841, elected to the 20th - 26th Congresses (March 4, 1827-March 3, 1841). He was Speaker of the House of Representatives (23rd Congress); chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs (21st through 26th Congresses, except for 23rd), Committee on Judiciary (22nd and 23rd Congresses).

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6653388 -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bell_%28Tennessee_politician%29 -------------------- http://dickinson-tree.net/getperson.php?personID=I4546&tree=Dickinson

http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/chron/civilwarnotes/bell.html

John Bell, a Representative and a Senator from Tennessee, was born near Nashville, Tenn., on February 15, 1797. He graduated from the University of Nashville in 1814, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1816 and commenced practice in Franklin, Tenn. He was elected to the Tennessee senate in 1817, but after one term he declined to be a candidate for reelection and moved to Nashville.

He initially opposed secession; however, following Pres. Abraham Lincoln's call for troops, he openly advocated resistance and henceforth classed himself a rebel. Bell spent the war years in retirement in Georgia, returning to Tennessee in 1865. He was an investor in ironworks at Cumberland Furnace in Chattanooga, Tenn. He died at his home on the banks of the Cumberland River, near Cumberland Furnace on September 10, 1869 and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, near Nashville, Tenn.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6653388

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John Bell "The Great Apostate"'s Timeline

1796
February 18, 1796
Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee
1818
1818
Age 21
1828
1828
Age 31
1830
1830
Age 33
Rutherford County, Tennessee
1835
November, 1835
Age 39
1837
1837
Age 40
1840
1840
Age 43
1869
September 10, 1869
Age 73
Dickson County, TN, USA
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